Editorial — Stay focused on better future at Metcalf South Shopping Center

05/13/2014 6:08 PM

05/13/2014 6:08 PM

The future of the Metcalf South Shopping Center at 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue is up in the air and likely to stay there for many months.

But Johnson County residents — especially in Overland Park — remain keenly interested in what will happen to the largely shuttered mall.

They have good reasons to stay involved in helping Lane4 Property Group, part of the new ownership team for the mall and a smaller center north across 95th Street, decide on new uses for the properties.

Both sit next to Metcalf, a crucial north-spine spine in Overland Park. The JO bus service offers a number of stops along the street. And a wide hiking-biking trail has been added along several miles of Metcalf, including near these properties.

Overland Park officials say they are committed to reinvesting in streets, curbs and other public amenities in the city’s northern neighborhoods, even as population growth continues moving south. Using private funds to revitalize the area where Metcalf South now stands would be a sound way to boost the city’s core.

At recent meetings held by Lane4 officials, the public weighed in with ideas on what to do with Metcalf South.

Most proposals weren’t surprising. Many in the audience favored bringing in new shops. Others talked about new housing as part of a mixed-use project to attract residents, too.

The audience did not embrace any proposal that would bring in a new big box store, with some pointing out that Johnson County already has plenty of those.

Lane4 officials cautioned that a final plan is far from reality, depending on which retailers might be interested in the project.

Nearby homeowners and city officials must stay focused on making sure any final plan has the potential to bring new vitality to an important intersection in Overland Park.

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